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Lawmaker wants additional judge for Indiana

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A bill proposed this week would add a new federal judgeship to the Southern District of Indiana, a recommendation that's been pitched for years but has failed to garner enough legislative support.

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Tuesday introduced the Federal Judgeship Act of 2009 that would add 63 new judgeships - temporary or permanent - throughout the country, including the one in Indiana. The Northern District of Indiana and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals are not part of that proposal, which has been co-sponsored by Indiana's Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh.

The text of that legislation isn't yet available, but a news release from Leahy's office outlines the new judgeships he's proposing.

Boosting the judicial roster in that District Court has been on the table for many years, and Leahy pitched similar legislation last year. That legislation made it to the Senate Judiciary Committee but stalled after Republican lawmakers declined to conduct a hearing for testimony.

This new legislation follows a recommendation earlier this year from the federal judiciary's policymaking Judicial Conference of the United States, which proposed adding those judgeships in order to help reduce the backlog in the nation's courts. The Judicial Conference also voted in 2007 to add another judge to the Southern District, which has had five permanent judges since 1978.

Timing of this legislation would benefit the Southern District, if passed. While the court has a roster of five active judges, one of those slots is currently open after Judge Larry McKinney took senior status in July, although he will maintain a full caseload until a successor is named. Also, Chief Judge David F. Hamilton is awaiting a confirmation vote by the Senate for possible elevation to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. If that happens, there will be an additional open slot on the District Court. If all that materializes, it would necessitate three judicial nominations for the court.

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  1. He did not have an "unlicensed handgun" in his pocket. Firearms are not licensed in Indiana. He apparently possessed a handgun without a license to carry, but it's not the handgun that is licensed (or registered).

  2. Once again, Indiana's legislature proves how friendly it is to monopolies. This latest bill by Hershman demonstrates the lengths Indiana's representatives are willing to go to put big business's (especially utilities') interests above those of everyday working people. Maassal argues that if the technology (solar) is so good, it will be able to compete on its own. Too bad he doesn't feel the same way about the industries he represents. Instead, he wants to cut the small credit consumers get for using solar in order to "add a 'level of certainty'" to his industry. I haven't heard of or seen such a blatant money-grab by an industry since the days when our federal, state, and local governments were run by the railroad. Senator Hershman's constituents should remember this bill the next time he runs for office, and they should penalize him accordingly.

  3. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  4. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  5. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

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